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Mark Messier speaks with Canada AM from the Hockey Hall of Fame in downtown Toronto on Monday, Nov. 12, 2007.

Mark Messier speaks with Canada AM from the Hockey Hall of Fame in downtown Toronto on Monday, Nov. 12, 2007.

Hockey Hall of Fame inductees Mark Messier, Ron Francis, Scott Stevens and Al MacInnis look on as Canadian Forces Pte. Scott Newlands sings the national anthem during pre-game ceremonies prior to the Toronto Maple Leafs and New York Rangers game in Toronto on Saturday, Nov.10, 2007. (CP / Adrian Wyld)

Hockey Hall of Fame inductees Mark Messier, Ron Francis, Scott Stevens and Al MacInnis look on as Canadian Forces Pte. Scott Newlands sings the national anthem during pre-game ceremonies prior to the Toronto Maple Leafs and New York Rangers game in Toronto on Saturday, Nov.10, 2007. (CP / Adrian Wyld)

Messier ready to lead another NHL team to victory

Updated Mon. Nov. 12 2007 2:38 PM ET

CTV.ca News Staff

On the day of his induction into the Hockey Hall of Fame, Canadian on-ice legend Mark Messier says he's open to returning to hockey if the right opportunity comes along.

Messier, who spent 25 seasons in the NHL with the Edmonton Oilers, New York Rangers and Vancouver Canucks, scoring nearly 700 goals in 1,700 games and winning six Stanley Cups, was inducted to the Hall of Fame on Monday.

The 46-year-old hockey legend now owns and operates a guest house in the Bahamas, but said he's keeping the door open to an off-ice role in the NHL.

"It's getting to the point now where the kids are getting a little bit easier and I've always thought at some point I would get back in the game of hockey and want to get back into the game of hockey," Messier told CTV's Canada AM from the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto.

"And I would feel it to be very gratifying to be able to lead a team to a championship from a different position, and hopefully if an opportunity comes, I'll be able to do that one day."

Messier, who is second in NHL scoring only to former teammate Wayne Gretzky, said joining his childhood heroes in the Hall of Fame is one of the highlights of his career.

"You know, I grew up a hockey fan, grew up with a lot of respect and tradition of the game and idolizing a lot of the players that played before me," Messier said.

"So to be going into the Hall of Fame after my career and being shoulder to shoulder with some of the guys I really respected and looked up to is obviously a big honour."

Scott Stevens, Ron Francis and Al MacInnis were also inducted into the Hall of Fame on Monday, making the class one of the most distinguished ever.

All four are former captains and Stanley Cup champions who were inducted in their first year of eligibility. They were joined by former Toronto Maple Leafs General Manager and longtime NHL executive Jim Gregory, who selected to the builders' category.

Stevens, a defenceman, won three Stanley Cups and spent 22 years in the NHL, including 12 seasons with the New Jersey Devils. Francis is fourth on the NHL career point list.

MacInnis, also a defenceman, spent 23 seasons in the NHL playing for the Calgary Flames and St. Louis Blues.

"How fortunate can you be to go in with this group," said MacInnis. "And to know these guys on a personal basis. I played with Scott in junior with the Kitchener Rangers. I played against Ronnie Francis when he was in Sault Ste. Marie. I got a chance to play with Mark in the Canada Cup and played against him in those years of the Battle of Alberta.

"To know these guys and their professionalism, they're all such great ambassadors to the game. To go in with that select company, you couldn't ask for a better group."

A maximum of four players can be inducted on any given year.

Igor Larionov, Adam Oates and Claude Lemieux were also in their first year of eligibility, but were left off the final list.

Glenn Anderson, Doug Gilmour and Pavel Bure were once again passed over.

With files from The Canadian Press




 

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